There was never any doubt that Anthony Davis wasn’t the best player on the floor during the New Orleans Pelicans 105-84 win over the Charlotte Bobcats Saturday night.
Davis finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals, 6 blocks and 4 assists in 37 minutes.
Davis, the first overall pick in 2011, impacted the game in ways only a young Kevin Garnett could.
Davis stretched the Bobcats defense out to 20 feet with a fluid, high release jump shot. Along with the Pelicans other big bodies, Davis was a nuisance contesting shots and playing physical in the paint. His passing set up multiple good looks for teammates, as the Pelicans shot 49% from the field.
On both sides of the floor, the Bobcats looked like last season’s team. Josh McRoberts called the Bobcats effort “inexcusable.”
Defensively, they got rocked; there was no fight. How could they, especially with Al Jefferson out of the lineup?
During the game, Bobcats announcer Dell Curry suggested Jefferson’s bulkier frame would have made Davis work more defensively.
The Bobcats first eight points were scored by Kemba Walker, who finished with 14 for the game on 7-19 shooting.
The offense looked like a bad game of hot potato until Ramon Sessions forced his way to the free throw line for one of his 16 attempts. Sessions led the team with 22 points.
After an impressive outing against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis’ former teammate at Kentucky, only played 17 minutes and scored 3 points.
The Bobcats will see better days, but the goal for this season is to limit these type of games. In past seasons the Bobcats have dug themselves too deep a hole to compete. With Jefferson’s absence we saw the same team on the floor as last season and most of the same problems returned.
Here’s what blogs and publications are saying about last night’s Bobcats loss:
- Rick Bonnell (Charlotte Observer): This game was one more reminder how unfortunate it was for the Bobcats that they didn’t win the draft lottery following the 7-59 season in 2011-12. Power forward Anthony Davis went to New Orleans and is looking like everything you’d hope for from a No. 1 overall pick. It would be hard for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis’ Kentucky teammate and the No. 2 pick to Charlotte, to compete with Davis’ sky-high potential.
- Nakia Hogan (Times-Picayune): Just when small slivers of doubt were beginning to creep in from the outside, second-guessing the validity of an improved team, the New Orleans Pelicans executed better offensively, crashed the boards and definitely clamped down on defense. It almost was like, uh, preseason all over again.
- Andrew Lail (Trade Street Post): Coach Clifford is working on what combinations work best, and aside from the atrocious foul shooting and being blown away in the first quarter (15 to 33 scoring in the first), we held our own through the rest of the game (26-23, 21-21, & 22-28). Once we get clicking, this will be a fun season full of amazing plays and more wins than we’ve seen in the past couple years.
- Jonathan Reeser (Pelican Debrief): A nice surprise for the Pelicans was newcomer Tyreke Evans having his best game as a Pelican coming off of the bench to add 15 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assist.
- Vytis Lasaitis (King James Gospel): With Ryan Anderson out, a heavier load naturally falls on Davis, who is quickly developing into a superstar. Yes, it’s only three games, and we should be careful making predictions, but Davis is the real deal. The way he is going right now, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him become the most improved player of the year, and an All-Star nomination is certainly not out of reach.
- Chris Barnewall (Rufus On Fire): The Bobcats shot 58% on free throws. That is simply unacceptable for an NBA team. Yes, you’re averaging over a point per possession there but you have to make the opposing team pay for sending you to the line. The only reason the percentage was that high was cause Ramon Sessions shot 17 free throws and made 12 of them. He was the lone bright spot in this game.